Few previous studies have formally examined people’s wishes regarding what they want to do before they die. This study aimed to describe responses to an activity within a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) where people considered what was important when faced with their own mortality. We asked participants to complete the following: “Before I Die, I want to…”. The content of participants’ responses (n
= 633) was analysed qualitatively with a coding schema developed and then applied. All authors independently coded the first 100 “Before I Die” statements, followed by a second round of coding where themes were verified and confirmed. Following this, two independent raters coded all 633 responses, obtaining 95.24% agreement (Cohen’s Kappa = 0.789, p
< 0.0005). Twelve themes emerged from the data: family; do an activity; personal aspiration; live life fully, happiness; love; the greater good; peace; legacy; gratitude; religion; and health. Responses could also be distinguished as being inward-facing (about the self), and outward-facing (about others). Reflecting on what is important and on what a person wishes to achieve or address before they die can be seen as a companion process to advance care planning which addresses what an individual wants to plan to manage their actual death.
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